LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jordan Addison said he didn’t know Southern California was the school for him until he set foot on campus for his recruiting visit shortly after. having entered the transfer portal in May.
And the Biletnikoff award-winning receiver said anyone who thought his decision was about anything other than football really didn’t know him at all.
Addison realizes he left hurt feelings behind in Pitt, where he was the nation’s most prolific receiver last season while catching 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns. Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi strongly suggested that star players like Addison were influenced by huge name, image and likeness deals at more prestigious schools like USC.
Addison said there was no truth to these insinuations and that they were disappointing.
“It was really frustrating, but I wasn’t too worried because the truth always comes out,” Addison said while wearing his new No. 3 Cardinal jersey. “I know what my focus and intention is, so everything It’s just outside noise.”
Addison is fitting in well with the Trojans, who are completely rebuilding a program proud of its worst season in 30 years. He’ll also be playing with added motivation after Pitt’s growls – and more overt insults from fans on social media.
“I really feel like I got a bit of a drug in the mud with the media,” Addison said. “But I like being the underdog, and I’m always going to win. I feel like it’s going to be a great story at the end.
USC has built a remarkable roster under freshman coach Lincoln Riley while recruiting heavily through the transfer portal at the same time NIL deals are rapidly changing the sport. The conjunction led to a dispute, with veiled and anonymous accusations of tampering and unfair advantage leveled against the Trojans.
Riley, Addison and other players are growing increasingly annoyed by the character slurs leveled at them as training camp begins Friday on campus.
“We’ve worked hard throughout our coaching careers, my coaching career, to do things with integrity,” Riley said last week at Pac-12 media day. “I think we’ve largely done that throughout my career. When someone disputes that without facts and just with emotion, yeah, I mean, I think you take it personally. Absolutely.
Addison’s move could have been the biggest transfer of college football’s offseason if not for the transfer of its new quarterback, Caleb Williams, from Oklahoma to USC. Both Williams and Addison are from the Washington, DC area, but Addison said they were only vague acquaintances until he picked up the Trojans.
Williams’ talent was evident during USC’s offseason practices, but Addison missed the spring ball. He has taken part in player-led training this summer and the Trojans are already impressed.
“He’s a freak of nature,” said running back Travis Dye, an Oregon transfer. “This man can run like a gazelle. I’m excited to go out and watch it in pads.
Addison said he has not communicated with Narduzzi or former Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett since his departure. Pickett is in the NFL, and last season’s offensive coordinator and receivers coach also left Pitt — but Addison’s decision to try a different school was still seen as a betrayal by many fans.
Instead, Addison said he was drawn to the chance to play for Riley at a hopefully revitalized college powerhouse.
“Just me already knowing Lincoln’s history and what he’s done with great receivers, that’s No. 1,” Addison said. “And just to see how the change was going here and the rebuilding process. I’m just happy to be here.
Addison can even wear his favorite No. 3 jersey after a conversation with Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer, who gave his blessing to retire his old number.
Addison hasn’t been to the beach or many hotspots since arriving in Los Angeles, but he’s met at least one celebrity: He’s worked with Marqise Lee, the USC catcher who won the Biletnikoff in 2012 before playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Since he’s probably only in town for a year, Addison told his new teammates he’ll make the most of it.
“I just wanted to make sure they knew what my intention was and what my focus would be,” Addison said. “I wasn’t coming here for all the lights and the camera and the action and all that. I just wanted to make sure they knew I was strictly professional.
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